02/11/2021, 12.43
BANGLADESH
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Eight Islamists sentenced to death for publisher’s murder

by Sumon Corraya

In 2015 Faisal Arefin Dipan in Dhaka was killed for publishing the works of writer and blogger Avijit Roy, also victim to extremist terrorism.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – A special anti-terrorism court in Dhaka has sentenced to death eight Islamic extremists found guilty of the murder of publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan on 31 October 2015.

The sentence, issued yesterday Judge Muhammad Majibur Rahman, includes a fine of 50,000 takas (about US$ 600) per defendant.

Dipan published the books of writer and blogger Avijit Roy, a rationalist and atheist advocate of freedom of thought, who was also killed by the Islamists on 26 February 2015.

The culprits belonged to an outlawed extremist group, Ansar-al-Islam, and were known as the Ansarullah Bangla Team. They murdered Dipan in Dhaka's Aziz Super Market.

Two of the eight sentenced to death are on the run: Sayed Ziaul Haque, the head of Ansar-al-Islam known as Major Zia, and Akram Hossein.

The other six are in prison: Moinul Hasan Shamim, Abdus Sabur, Khairul Islam, Sheikh Abdullah, Abu Siddiq Sohel, and Mozammel Hossain.

In the verdict Judge Rahman said that the culprits, by killing free thinkers, sought to establish an Islamic state.

“The accused,” he explained, “cannot be subject to any sympathy” and the punishment must “be exemplary”. Dipan's widow expressed satisfaction for the sentence.

The defence has announced plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.

For some years Bangladesh has been engaged in a fight against Islamist terrorism, which is fed by online propaganda.

The fight includes a “deradicalisation” programme that offers ex-militants the possibility of changing their lives.

This effort has been strengthened since the attack on 1 July 2016 at the Gulshan Café in Dhaka, which cost the lives of 29 people, including nine Italians.

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